Books by Mary Baylis-White

Released: Sept. 1, 1991

When Rebecca arrives in Sally's class after being smuggled out of Germany in 1938, Sally knows little about Hitler's persecutions; but when she is given special responsibility for the young Jewish refugee, the two quickly become close friends. Working-class Sally wins a scholarship to the school that Rebecca (whose father is a professor; she's staying with a local industrialist) also attends; despite class differences, the war brings the two families together in some surprising ways. The third-person narrative is presented as the reminiscences of Sally (since emigrated from Britain to Australia) to her granddaughter, who realizes finally that her grandfather is Rebecca's brother, their family's only other survivor. As such, it's believable: the wartime experiences here tend to be upbeat, with the horrific mentioned only briefly, and subjects like Sally's dad's anti-Semitism, or Rebecca's uncharacteristically forceful objection to studying The Merchant of Venice, touched on but undeveloped. Sally is a well-rounded character, and she has the wisdom to know that she can't fully comprehend Rebecca's sorrow; unfortunately, this has the effect of distancing the reader from it as well. Not very deep, but pleasant as the story of a friendship and authentic as far as it goes. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >